I received an advanced copy of this work for consideration. The thoughts and opinions here are my own, and a true joy to get to share.
In this particular season of my life, I rarely get to dust off the graduate degree hanging in my office and flex my muscles as a scholar of theology. It’s been 10 years, now, since I earned that degree. And it’s been 2 full years since I properly used it. And that’s ok. I’ve already traveled down that road of insecurity and concern, and I’m on the other side of it, totally at peace. I did a hard (and expensive) thing in my early twenties by earning a master’s degree from Harvard University. I’m glad I did it. I don’t have to live and breathe those interests anymore for it to have been a meaningful journey.
One of the highlights of my time at the school was getting to know Amanda Hope Haley and her husband, David, a bit better. I actually went to undergrad with Amanda, though she was a year behind me. Her familiar face was a welcome sight, indeed, a year into my program. Amanda went on to do all sorts of completely relevant things with her degree, all of which made me marvel.
But the gift she gave the world through her talents and expertise that really took my breath away was one that arrived on my doorstep just last week:
It turns out that as Amanda had been plugging away at her contributions to Christian literature through ghostwriting and even editing a version of the Bible(!), she and David were also going through a long and painful journey of infertility. They quickly discovered how common problems with conception were, and yet how few resources were available to help them deal with the costs (and those costs are HUGE, financially, emotionally and spiritually).
Barren Among the Fruitful is aimed at Christian readers who might be navigating the waters of infertility, though I would also strongly recommend it to anyone who has a loved one going through this journey. I personally learned a great deal, thanks to Amanda’s honest words, about the pains of infertility, and the fact that the road doesn’t always need to lead to a child.
I want to confess that I have never really understood why couples who are struggling to conceive do not adopt. Isn’t it the obvious solution? For many, it really is, and that’s a great thing for all parties involved. But after gaining more insight into the process that couples seeking to have their own child endure, and the heartache, as well as the financial stress (and potential ruin), I feel so much more understanding about the complexity of the issue, and so much less inclined to assume that the right answer for every couple is to have a child, one way or the other. I am so grateful for that insight, as I feel that it helped me grow and mature as a person and as a friend.
Amanda’s book offers keen observations and a helpful dose of perspective for those of us on the periphery of this issue, and very practical and compassionate advice for those in the midst of it. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts that she offers in her work is thoughts about how she worked and is working through some of those big, spiritual issues that anyone dealing with infertility, or even with loss of any sort, will have to face and try to answer. Amanda doesn’t have nice and neat solutions, wrapped up and packaged for easy consumption, but she does offer some great guideposts for you if you are finding yourself lost and in the dark on how to reconcile your faith with your heartbreak.
What a gift you have given the world, Amanda. I’m so proud of what you have created, so thankful for what you have taught me, and so honored to help spread the word.
Pick up your copy of Barren Among the Fruitful today (it releases October 7th, but you can pre-order it now). And after you read it, pass it along to someone else to keep paying it forward.